RELIGIOUS harmony and community tolerance in a multicultural country like Malaysia are achievable by instilling the spirit of harmonious co-existence among the young people, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said.
He expressed such words after officiating the Harmony Community Concert Wesak Day 2022 event, courtesy of the Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia Penang State Liaison Committee and the Penang Harmony Corporation (Harmonico) at Penang Harmony Centre in Jalan Scotland today.
“Events of such nature will help to cultivate mutual respect and understanding among our children who will grow up as responsible citizens with respect for one another.
“The Penang government has always been promoting religious harmony through its programmes and policy directions.
“For instance, we came up with the non-Islamic places of worship (RIBI) fund in 2016 and the country’s first Harmony Centre, which became fully functional in 2019.
“While the state is a strong advocate to promote harmonious living among the people, it also views the support and contributions of various stakeholders as key factors to further push its goal towards greater success.
“We appreciate the support from the state-level Buddhist youth organisation (YBAM), which has made a lot of contributions to the Buddhist community and the rakyat as a whole.
“In addition to this, they have also been very compassionate by offering their hands to assist families that were affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Throughout our two-year fight against the virus, YBAM has raised a total of RM181,000 to purchase medical equipment for the Penang Hospital, the Kepala Batas Field Hospital, as well as helped out five charity organisations in the state to pay their utility bills.
“We acknowledge these efforts by YBAM.
“And today, I take the opportunity to express my deepest appreciation towards YBAM, and the state hopes that the organisation will continue with its goodwill for the greater good of everyone,” Chow said during his speech.
Meanwhile, Chow also expressed a similar sentiment that YBAM and the state government have in common, which is operating places of worship not just as religious centres, but as community centres too.
“From my understanding, the state-level YBAM has a six-year plan to help various groups to become community-oriented.
“This is in line with what the state is doing. It is truly remarkable, especially to see the young people prepping themselves to play a key role in helping the community.
“Lastly, I congratulate the organisers for successfully hosting this meaningful event, and I wish all Buddhists a safe and Happy Wesak,” Chow added.
The guests were treated to a string of beautiful performances by youth members of the state-level YBAM.
Also present the event was state Social Development and Non-Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Chong Eng.
In her speech, Chong Eng expressed much delight over efforts by Harmonico and YBAM to organise such a light-hearted, much-needed, meaningful event in-conjunction with Wesak Day this year.
“I admire YBAM’s youth energy. When the activities are related to religion, solemnity is the first impression that comes to our mind.
“Although today’s event is about the sharing of Buddhist songs, the participation of young people surely adds a youthful energy to the event and creates a solemn yet lively atmosphere,” Chong Eng said during her speech.
Among others present include Harmonico manager Paul Au and state-level YBAM chairman Lim Kok Aun.
Story by Kevin Vimal
Pix by Darwina Mohd Daud
Video by Noor Siti Nabilah Noorazis